Emma Wilson overcomes tumor, finds potential career



A little over 4 years ago, Emma Wilson ‘19 was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, which is a cancerous tumor that starts at the bottom of your brain and works its way throughout the rest of the brain and down the spinal cord. The symptoms are the loss of balance, trouble writing, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Her story is full of power and emotion.

She grew up really healthy and had a lot of friends when she was 13. Wilson and her family were heartbroken when they found out the news and had a whole new outlook on life.

“I had really bad balance issues,” Wilson said.

One day she accidentally knocked herself out in the kitchen causing a lot of pain. Her mom thought that there was something very wrong and it wasn’t just clumsiness this time, but something beyond anyone could imagine. Emma was rushed to a clinic. There, she was directed to take a certain test to measure her balance by walking straight on a line that was on the floor. Her results were that she couldn’t walk straight.

From there she was reported to Fairview clinic in Burnsville, MN where she received a CT scan of her brain. Within that scan was a tumor located in the cerebellum, which is at the back of the brain and coordinates/regulates muscular activity and also controls your balance.

When she went under for brain surgery, the physician hit a nerve which triggered Posterior Fossa Syndrome, which can affect your speech and language motor skills and cause shakiness with no cure.

Because of this syndrome, Wilson’s core is weaker and is required to use a rocker at school. But currently (and for a while now), she can walk perfectly fine without a rocker and in fact doesn’t use it at all when she is at home. 

A lot of people don’t know what that is but I feel like it should get more recognition because it’s really important and it really affects my life”

— Emma Wison

“It’s like your whole body is shaking, like your having a seizure but not really,” Wilson said. “A lot of people don’t know what that is but I feel like it should get more recognition because it’s really important and it really affects my life,” Wilson said.

This was Wilson’s biggest fight within herself.

One of the most traumatic things that Wilson had to deal with was a mask in Chicago, Illinois for radiation. She had to go because she had a special proton radiation that needed to be dealt with at a specific location. At the time she was extremely sick, throwing up and had to be rushed to the ER.

At radiation, they strapped her down so she couldn’t move her head or shoulders. They then placed a mask going from the top of her head to a little bit lower than her clavicle which molded to her face for 15-30 seconds. Wilson was terrified about not being able to breathe or possibly choking.

It was the scariest thing that she has ever been a part of.

Wilson’s story isn’t all about her illness, it’s also about personality, characteristics, and interests.

Wilson and her family are still in the process of plans after high school, but she wants to either be a school psychologists or a child care worker. She developed the interest by taking child development last year with Mrs. Bauer, she thought that class was super fun and interesting.

“I know I want to work with kids and I want to help people at the same time,” Wilson said.